Story 7 - Unity.
He said that marriage is an interesting case, because we don't know how it developed. The practice is very old. It probably predates the pharaohs of ancient Egypt by a long way. It may have evolved in the earliest times from a honest response to the principle of unity that forever asserts itself, and reasserts itself. If one adds to this the heightened attraction between men an
women that is a natural component of procreation, a special bond may have evolved that was built on respect, affection, even love, that became a commitment to one another and reflected the principle of unity that was not so much understood as it was felt. This may have resulted in a natural response of honoring one another at the grassroots level.
He turned to me, "You must realize that unity, by itself, is an incomplete concept. It cannot even exist by itself. It can only exist as a part of a much larger concept that also includes respect, honor, and affection, all of which are kindred aspects of our humanity. If one takes away any one of these, the rest has no meaning. The discovery of this may have been the original foundation of the marriage bond, and Egypt may have been the place where it unfolded, because Egypt was simply the richest place on Earth at the earliest stages of civilization. Egypt was rich on food, because of the Nile, so that the people had time and energy to spare for the development of the mind. This opened the door to all kinds of scientific discoveries and to vast stores of knowledge in all kinds of fields. The early Egyptians may have been the first to discover some aspects of the underlying idea that God and man are one in being, that there is but one I, or Us. Their discoveries along this line might have come to light in the
same manner as an archeologist uncovers the faint outlines of a priceless hidden treasure. This usually occurs when the surface dust is brushed away. The kind of unity that they appear to have established was evidently rich with life, respect, honor, and affection. We find this in their art, and in the way they honored their pharaohs. We can also see evidence of it inscribed into the stones of the great temples and pyramids that they created."
Then the man spoke about the ownership rights that circumscribe marriage today, which rights were probably instituted for the protection of the gentle bond that was formed in the face of competition. He suggested that this may also have been necessary in the early ages when the principle of natural unity was not sufficiently recognized. Even in Jesus' time, the principle was far from being understood. The man suggested that this may have been the reason for Jesus' comment on marriage, 'suffer it to be thus now.' He also suggested that Jesus made it clear that this compromise has nothing to do with the fundamental principle of unity, and that the compromise would fall away when the reality of one's being becomes more fully understood.
"Don't you think the time has come for society as a whole to deal with this?" I asked at one point.
"People have dealt with this for centuries and have not understood it. They have only felt it," said the man after a long period of silence. "That is why prostitution is one of the oldest professions, and why people have affairs. But they only deal with the superficial aspects of the principle of unity by some gut feeling that they cannot shed. Still, this principle moves them powerfully."
The man then asked me if I ever danced the tango. I said yes. "Then you have been touched by the power of this principle of unity," he said, "of which sexual intimacy is a valid expression."
He explained that the tango has its roots in the immigrant society of Argentina where men had once outnumbered the women forty-five to one. The only intimacy that many men could experience was that which they paid for in the bordellos of Buenos
Aires and other cities. And even there, the competition was stiff. The man explained that a client was expected to dance at least three times with a prostitute before the intimacies could begin. During these dances her client must prove his worthiness. "So you see, even there," he added, "we have a certain acknowledgement manifested that unity cannot truly exist without respect, honor, and affection, that all three are one."